GdA 2nd Edition Rules! Update 3

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Mark Middleton
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Re: GdA 2nd Edition Rules! Update 2

Post by Mark Middleton »

Hi Dave
Most of that can be found in Hofschroer's 1815 Waterloo Campaign
There's some quotes from Altens and Best's battle reports on the Luneburg laying down and receiving a charge in Line from about 4 Sqns of Cav. "The Luneburg Btn stood up and fired from 30 paces with such effect that the larger part of the enemy fell with many of them killed, the rest drew off to the left to save themselves" Sounds like a Superior Volley to me :lol:
Early on in the battle the 5th Dutch Militia stood off Pire's Cav just north of Gemioncourt Farm, 2 attacks in quick succession beating them both off.
Best also describes the 92 Highland Regt driving off Chasseurs a Cheval from the Namur Road and 2 of his Battalions, Luneburg and Osterode, doing the same after having their skirmish screen ridden down.
Couple of other examples as well.

You could probably argue due to the undulating nature of the ground and the high crops that visibility was poor, so perhaps there wasn't time to form Square. But it does also suggest that Infantry Regts (even Militia) were quite prepared to face Cavalry in Line and Volley them at close range if need be. The fact they remained steady and delivered the Volley also suggests they believed they stood a good chance of driving them off, otherwise it probably would of been a case of "Billy big legs to the rear"!
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DCRBrown
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Re: GdA 2nd Edition Rules! Update 2

Post by DCRBrown »

MM,

Thanks - I'll take a look at these.

DB
Mark Middleton
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Re: GdA 2nd Edition Rules! Update 2

Post by Mark Middleton »

No problem

Couple of other interesting little snippets in there as well, that us Wargamers would find interesting and other normal folk wouldn't even notice!

Skirmish screens charging Skirmish screens
Brunswick Infantry advancing in Square

I would add, your rules allow both where most others don't!
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DCRBrown
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Re: GdA 2nd Edition Rules! Update 2

Post by DCRBrown »

MM,

Luneburg - we are not told what formation the battalions were in. References to line are referring to the brigade front - rather than, I think, the battalion formations. So when the report says " as chain of skirmishers in front of the line" it is referring to the front of the brigade position and not battalion formations.

5th Dutch Militia - the formation is not mentioned for the combat itself. Line is mentioned in the previous sentence and not necessarily connected to the cavalry action. The word "next" is an unspecified period of time. So I'm not sure we can say definitively that the 5th Militia met the cavalry in line.

92nd. The 92nd Highlander formation is not defined either. Yes, they scrambled into a ditch and volleyed the French cavalry at close range but there is no reference to their formation. It may well have been line or it might have been column?

The same applies to references to Luneburg, there is no indication that they were in line. A "volley" could come from either line or column.

So these may or may not support either side of the debate. None are conclusive evidence that they deliberately stayed in line and fought off cavalry with firepower. I accept they might well have done if they were surprised and had no other option other than to fire off a quick volley and hope for the best. However that option comes down to winning the Charge Dice rolls against the cavalry as opposed to the defensive fire option which is a deliberate command choice.

Finally if you were the battalion commander in these examples and you saw cavalry attacking would you choose to form line and hope to get a surprise volley off or would you err on the side of safety, adopt column and then try to get in a surprise volley. If my life were on the line I know which option I'd go for. ;)

DB
Bivoj
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Re: GdA 2nd Edition Rules! Update 2

Post by Bivoj »

On one hand I like the mandatory square rule and the explanation, but it has to be house-ruled out for SYW games, where facing cavalry in line by firepower was common and desired (square formation was adopted as well, but much less frequently and rather as emergency).

I am not sure if mandatory square is proper for pre-1806 old regime armies, but could be...
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DCRBrown
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Re: GdA 2nd Edition Rules! Update 2

Post by DCRBrown »

B,

Quite so.

Its one of those wargame conundrums that requires a simple all-purpose rule to fit a multi-faceted tactical situation!

DB
Marshal Rob
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Re: GdA 2nd Edition Rules! Update 2

Post by Marshal Rob »

Hi All,
Cute issue - At Auerstadt the veteran french went to square in all cases of cavalry threat and attack. Remember, at the beginning of this campaign Napoleon specifically warned his commanders to have respect for Prussian cavalry. The one case of a batallion/regiment (depends on source) is the 85th of the line - in line - south of Hassenhausen being surprised by the Irwing Dragoons and breaking (some throwing down their arms according to the Prussian sources.) The charge came out of relatively steep low ground and there may have been some residual fog, so maybe the 85th just lost it because they were in line and it all happened so fast. They later reformed behind supporting squares and the village then continued in the battle. Interestingly, as an aside, the French sources I have read so far don't talk about his event much.
The reaction part of this issue I don't like is large Veteran batallions get a -1 when attempting to form square when being charged (in GdA1) Almost all the French at Auerstadt were large batallions and they all made it into square (not sure if the 85th even tried, or had time to try) ....or should the French regiments be Elite for Discipline tests in this case??

I prefer the option of allowing them to face the charge in line - if so decided - then using inferior volley + factors/adjustments that favor the Cavalry, especially if the cav overlap the line's frontage (that is where a line is weak). A single squadron frontage against an infantry line volley would be interesting.
Cheers
Marshal Rob
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DCRBrown
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Re: GdA 2nd Edition Rules! Update 2

Post by DCRBrown »

MR,

All good points.

However I think we are conflating several issues here.

1. The commander's decision on what formation to adopt upon sighting enemy cavalry when he has time to give orders and change formation.
2. Infantry caught by surprise against cavalry and their response.

Situation 1 - Cavalry spotted in Time. In the vast majority of cases infantry formed square when faced by enemy cavalry. As previously stated I've not come across a single historical account that states infantry where ordered to stay in line against cavalry when they had plenty of time to change formation.
Let's assume that the infamous Prince of Orange debacle at Waterloo was a mistake and not a deliberate choice of line to receive French cuirassiers. Even though this shows that being caught in line was far from the preferred option! So Situation 1 covers the large French battalions at Auerstadt being ordered to form square in good time by their brigadiers.

Situation 2 - Infantry in line surprised by Cavalry. There are a good few accounts of infantry caught in line by a surprise cavalry attack. Here they have no choice but to fire off a quick volley and hope for the best. So this covers the 85th Line above and many other examples. These instances are separate and distinct to Situation 1 above because the commanders did not have time to form square and as a result can only face the cavalry in their current formation. As we can see from detailed historical examples the infantry line generally came off worst, but could drive off cavalry if it was lucky or the cavalry were at a disadvantage of some sort.

So in wargames world Situation 1 is the player seeing or anticipating a cavalry attack several moves in advance and ensuring his battalions form square before charges are launched. As mentioned before, in 99/100 instances this will be to form square or column, as I have yet to see any situation where the brigadier ordered units to stay in line rather than square throughout the twenty years of the Napoleonic wars.

To address Situation 2, (under GdA2) we fall back on the Discipline Test. Your wargame battalions have been surprised by cavalry and you either managed to form square or remained in line because you don't have time to form square - and this will be risky even with elite troops. This is why large units have a negative in this situation as it generally takes longer to manoeuvre 1000 men into square as opposed to 500 when the pressure is on!

DB
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DCRBrown
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Re: GdA 2nd Edition Rules! Update 3

Post by DCRBrown »

And the third instalment regards Light Infantry Battalions and Skirmishing!

Light Infantry battalions have two skirmish roles, these are:

1. Reinforce the Skirmish Line:
• All Light battalions and any French battalion graded as Line or better, can reinforce by either reducing their battalion size by one grade, e.g. Standard to Small, and increasing the skirmish line by one base as a free action in the movement phase. This can still be done even if either unit is unformed.
OR
• Use the Skirmishers Reinforce Tasking to dissolving entirely into the skirmish line.

2. Independent Light Battalions:
• All Elite battalions, even if not Light infantry, and Veteran Light battalions may deploy in skirmish order and operate independently of the brigade skirmish line.
• All Grenadier, Line or Reservist Light battalions may also deploy in skirmish order and operate independently of the brigade skirmish line when in rough terrain or orchards. If they leave this terrain or are forced back into open terrain they must reform into close order as soon as possible. These light battalions do not operate in independent skirmish order when in open terrain.
• Independent Light Battalions do not join the brigade skirmish line, but operate independently from it.

DB
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john de terre neuve
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Re: GdA 2nd Edition Rules! Update 3

Post by john de terre neuve »

They all sound like really interesting changes.
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